CUPERTINO, CA: Last week, Apple's new iMac debuted at MacWorld, as
well as on the cover of Time magazine in a PR coup that was not without
Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the new iMac - with a flat screen and
compact, rounded base - during his keynote speech at the company's
MacWorld conference last Monday in San Francisco. Edelman is Apple's PR
agency of record.
"The new iMac ushers in the age of flat-screen computing for everyone,"
crowed Jobs in his speech. "The CRT display is now officially dead."
On the same day, Time magazine's cover story appeared, featuring a
picture of the new iMac with a picture of Jobs on the screen. The
headline read, "Flat-out Cool!"
There was some grumbling among other media outlets about Time's cover
story and Apple's PR team. David Coursey, executive editor of ZDNet
AnchorDesk, said Apple lied to him when he asked if any news
organization had been given the story in advance of Jobs' keynote.
But Natalie Sequeira, Apple's senior manager of product and technology
PR, said she only told Coursey that he could not see MacWorld press
announcements prior to the keynote.
There were also questions raised over the nature of Time's exclusive,
and speculation over whether the magazine delayed updating its website
on Monday to avoid diluting Jobs' keynote unveiling.
Time's response was that the information was given under an embargo.
Debra Richman, Time's deputy director of public affairs, added that the
website is updated continuously, and that not all elements of the
magazine go live at exactly the same time.
Whatever the agreement, it's clear that Time was one more tool for the
PR team at MacWorld. "After Steve Jobs unveiled the iMac, he told the
crowd they could pick up a free copy of that day's Time magazine on the
way out," said Jon Fortt, a reporter with the San Jose Mercury News, who
attended the event.
"That magazine just happened to have an exclusive with him and the iMac
on the cover, and Apple just happened to have hundreds of copies on
hand," he added.
In the press room later that day, an experienced technology journalist
told Fortt that he had said to Jobs that his "biggest accomplishment
that day wasn't the iMac; it was turning a national magazine into a PR
Fortt also said that Apple's PR team deserves credit for doing their
jobs and generating overwhelmingly positive press coverage.
"Apple's PR team earned their paychecks this week," Fortt said. "The
readers can decide whether we earned ours."
See Editorial, p. 8.